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Trinidad and Tobago

Honour theatre contributors

Mavis Lee Wah
Mavis Lee Wah

CONSIDER honouring other contributors to culture and arts, apart from pan, mas and calypso exponents.

Creative director of Iere Theatre Productions Ltd Victor Edwards, in directing this suggestion to San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello, said one such deserving contributor is the late principal of Naparima Girls’ High School (NGHS), actress, producer and director Mavis Lee Wah.

In the last year, streets in San Fernando were named after pan icons Bobby Mohammed and the late Steve Achibar and Ken “Professor” Philmore. Businessman Dr Rupert Indar was also honoured in this way. Plans for similar honours for TT’s first Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford and calypsonian Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste are on the drawing board. While commending Regrello for this initiative, Edwards said, “San Fernando is more than pan, mas and calypso. It is also famous for other artistic endeavours, and maybe the mayor should start paying attention to other artistic icons who would have contributed a lifetime of service to culture and the arts.”

Freddie Kissoon

He said Lee Wah, the late celebrated playwright Freddie Kissoon and longtime member of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, the ailing Albert Laveau, who is originally from the south, should be considered.

Albert Laveau

Edwards’ production house will stage American author John Steinbeck’s 1947 Mexican-based play The Pearl at the Naparima Bowl from this Thursday to Sunday, in celebration of the Jamaican-born actress who came to TT and, together with her husband James Lee Wah, left an indelible mark on local theatre.

“We felt we needed to do something to honour this icon who did fantastic work as an actress and with the children, because nobody else is doing it. The San Fernando Theatre Workshop is basically defunct.”

It is the first time in about nine years Iere has chosen to do a foreign play, because of Lee Wah’s passion for that kind of theatre. Edwards said she had a passion for the work of Shakespeare and American playwright Tennessee Williams, recalling her memorable performances in Macbeth and The Glass Menagerie.

“We wanted to do something to represent her preference, and a play from which society itself could glean something.”

Half of the door receipts from the Friday night’s show will be donated to a theatre arts scholarship fund in Lee Wah’s name at Naps’ Girls.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia, as well as Mexican Ambassador Rosario Molinero, is expected to attend Friday night’s show. Edwards said Molinero has agreed to lend Iere some “paraphernalia” to authenticate the elaborate setting planned for The Pearl, which opens with four school shows on Thursday and Friday, followed by shows for general audiences from Friday night to Sunday evening.

Marina Mohan, who gave a creditable performance in NGHS’s production of The Sound of Music, will open the show with a Mexican folk song.

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